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review 2020-06-15 07:36
Under the Banner of Heaven ★★★☆☆
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer

This was not really the book I was expecting - a true crime nonfic with an exploration of the religious fanaticism that drove the murder, how man commits atrocities and somehow uses his God to justify it to himself and others, especially when God has conveniently provided him with a divine revelation to go ahead with whatever it was he really wanted to do, anyway. 


Krakauer does this, peripherally, but he really spends far more time just giving us the history of the mainstream Mormon church and its splinter fundamentalist groups that more closely resemble the original founders' intents and revelations in all its glorious 19th century brutality, xenophobia, misogyny, and racism. Ah, the good old days. 


I'm generally suspicious of all organized religions, but even I felt that, if the author was going to spend so much time sifting through LDS history for all the dirt, he could at least make the effort to provide a more balanced view of what the church is and what, if anything, they do about the lunatic fringe. Besides excommunicating them. 


And I still have very little sense of who Brenda Lafferty was, besides a woman with enough courage to fight back. 


It was interesting enough reading in short bursts, but this is the longest I've taken to read a book since the pandemic began and the social isolation and cancellation of baseball left me a LOT more time to spend reading. 



I read this for the Booklikes-opoly 2020 lot The Lake House 19: Read a book with a cover that is more than 50% blue, or by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-A-K-E. 

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review 2020-05-24 03:43
Hegira ★☆☆☆☆
Hegira - Greg Bear

The Book Genie picked an old paperback that I found at a Friends of the Library sale, and I can see why it was a giveaway. I could not last even my usual minimum 50 pages before giving up on this 40 year old Sci-Fi snoozer. 



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text 2020-04-28 02:14
A Walk in the Woods - DNF
A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

On three attempts, I made it all the way to page 9. This is just not my kind of thing, so I'm not going to even rate it. 

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review 2020-04-11 14:45
The Book of Salt ★★★★☆
The Book of Salt - Monique Truong

I'm not sure why the author chose to make the famous real-life couple of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas important secondary characters in this book about a Vietnamese cook. It really only served as a distraction, when she could easily have used a fictional couple. 


There was a lot about this book that annoyed me. There's no real story, just a rambling set of recollections and events narrated in first person by the cook, styled as if he is confiding in his lover. This telling jumps around in time and place, from paragraph to paragraph, making it hard to follow. The continuous food metaphors become overbearing. I get it. Yes, yes, I get it. 


And yet. The story is so full of emotions, of love and resentment and regret and longing and lust and hope and need and loneliness and resignation, that it is still a compelling read, for all its annoyances. 


Paperback copy, bought secondhand on impulse when I was looking for another of this author's books. 

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text 2020-04-06 03:15
Divine Evil - tossed it
Divine Evil - Nora Roberts

The random number generator picked this book off my TBR and I was willing to give it a try, even though I'm pretty sure I got it off the clearance book rack back in the days when that was the only kind of hardcover I could afford and I still liked reading romances in general and Nora Roberts in particular. 


Then I saw OB's review and decided I'd be better off throwing it in the library donation box rather than even trying to read it. 


So, not read, not rated, tossed it. I'll run the random generator again and see what it picks for me next. 

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